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Table 4 Most commonly applied qualitative codes after Hurricane María with examples, by geographic area

From: “Y no quedó nada, nada de la casa, todo salió volando” (And there was nothing left, nothing of the house, everything flew away): a critical medical ecological perspective on the lived experience of hurricane María in Puerto Rico

  Exemplary Supportive Quotes  
Theme Coastal Metro Outer Island Rural Diaspora
Collapse of basic services
(Abiotic factors)
No. of mentions (%): 345 (9.9%)
“La mayoría de la gente de aquí, de Playa, Verde Mar, toda esta área, cayó en una depresión bien mala porque tú sabes lo que era tú hacer una fila para que te dieran un platito de comida que había gente que no tenía en la casa una botella de agua. Pasamos esta situación bien mala, la pasamos brutal, la pasamos bien brutal. Había veces que hacías fila y lo que te daban era un solo plato de comida y hasta peleaban por la comida teniendo tú otra familia en tu casa. No, se pasó! Lo que nosotros vivimos aquí, yo creo que nunca nosotros habíamos pensado vivir una cosa igual. Sin tener un plato de comida o una botella de agua, todo eso lo pasamos.” [“Most of the people here, from Playa, Verde Mar, this whole area, fell into a very bad depression because you know what it was like to stand in line to get a plate of food that there were people who did not have in the home a bottle of water. We went through this very bad situation, we had a brutal time, we had a very brutal time. There were times when you stood in line and what they gave you was a single plate of food and they even fought over food with you having another family in your house. No, it happened! What we live here, I believe that we had never thought to live something like it. Without having a plate of food or a bottle of water, we had all that.”]
No. of mentions (%): 151 (10.7%)
“La gasolina, entonces comenzó todo eso que fue terrible, terrible; había que venir para acá [San Juan], y entonces las filas eran kilométricas para regresarme a Fajardo.” [“Gasoline, then all that began that was terrible, terrible; I had to come here [San Juan], and then the lines were kilometers long to return”]
No. of mentions (%): 24 (8.7%)
“Nosotros estuvimos sin luz diantres hace como dos meses [Marzo 2018] vino la luz verdad? y porque hay plantas Diesel”
[“We were without power for about two months [March 2018] the power came right? and because there are diesel plants”]
No. of mentions (%) 23 (8.6%)
“Yo digo que lo más difícil para esta comunidad fue el agua y la luz, porque nosotros estuvimos seis meses sin agua, porque ahora por lo menos la tenemos dos días sí y un día no, pero estuvimos seis meses sin agua y siete sin luz.” [“I say that the most difficult thing for this community was water and electricity, because we spent six months without water, because now we have at least two days and one day no, but we spent six months without water and seven without electricity.”]
No. of mentions (%): 10 (10.0%)
“Luego del huracán obviamente, pues el factor, verdad, que enfrentamos, este, la comunidad pues se fue abajo, los servicios pésimos, en cuanto a recogido de escombro y demás, este, sin luz por más de seis meses, desde el huracán, este, Irma, el servicio de agua pésimo también, este, las necesidades básicas, pues día a día tenemos que luchar contra eso, este, levantarnos, dormíamos apenas una hora, levantarnos para ir a las gasolineras a buscar diésel, gasolina, eh, suministros de comida, este, agua potable, en mi caso…”[“After the hurricane obviously, because the factor, right, that we faced, this, the community because it went down, the terrible services, in terms of collection of rubble and others, this, without light for more than six months, since the hurricane, This, Irma, the water service is terrible too, this, the basic needs, because day by day we have to fight against that, this, get up, we slept for just an hour, get up to go to the gas stations to get diesel, gasoline, eh, food supplies, this, drinking water, in my case ...”]
No. of mentions (%): 46 (8.9%)
Health-related problems (combined with mental health)
(Biotic domain)
No. of mentions (%): 133 (3.8%) and 80 (2.3%)
“No hubo un diabético que no se descontroló, o sea por falta de la insulina, por las pastillas que no aparecían, nadie se tomaba los medicamentos porque tenían muchas cosas más importantes que resolver. Cuando vinieron los hospitales que pudieron abrir, estaban saturados porque tenían aquel que se metió al campo a bregar, y a sacar palo, con las patas podridas; porque no tenía el control y la diabetes es una cosa, y yo te hablo por mí, que soy diabético.” [“There was not a diabetic who did not get out of control, that is, because of a lack of insulin, because of the pills that did not appear, nobody took the medications because they had many more important things to solve. When the hospitals they were able to open came, they were saturated because they had the one who went into the fields to struggle, and to take out a stick, with rotten legs; because I was not in control and diabetes is one thing, and I speak to you for myself, that I am diabetic.”]
No. of mentions (%): 33.0 (2.3%) and 19 (1.3%)
“Pero tú lo veías en la gente, tú hablabas con la gente y empezaba a llorar, hablabas con la gente y empezaban a llorar… este, y en la fila a los puertorriqueños nos gusta hablar mucho y para todo había que hacer una fila, para todo había que hacer, así que todo el mundo hablaba con todo el mundo y tu seguías escuchando el problema del otro y del otro y del otro y del otro y del otro.” [But you saw it in the people, you talked to the people and they started crying, you talked to the people and they started crying ... this one, and in line we Puerto Ricans like to talk a lot and for everything you had to line up, to everything had to be done, so everyone talked to everyone and you kept listening to the problem of the other and the other and the other and the other and the other.”]
No. of mentions (%): 10 (3.6%) and 9 (3.3%)
“La desolación cuando pasa el huracán… eso sí que tú caías en una depresión. Se deprime cualquiera. No sabes lo que es mirar para el mar, no ver una lancha, no ver un barco, no ver un avión, no ver comunicaciones. Ay no… horrible”
[“The desolation when the hurricane passes ... that you did fall into a depression. Anyone gets depressed. You don’t know what it is to look at the sea, not to see a boat, not to see a ship, not to see an airplane, not to see communications. Oh no ... Horrible.”]
No. of mentions (%): 16 (6.0%) and 9.0 (3.4%)
“Suicidios que están sucediendo, todavía yo creo que eso debe continuarse ante la emergencia, porque la emergencia pasó, pero las situaciones que arrastra la emergencia no han pasado. Y entonces yo creo que las respuestas tanto del gobierno especialmente en cuanto brindar los psicólogos, las facilidades, pues debe hacerse en continuo, no terminar porque a veces como pasó la emergencia, igual como cuando indicamos anteriormente, pasó, nos ayudamos, pasó la emergencia, se terminó.” [“Suicides that are happening, I still believe that this should continue in the face of the emergency, because the emergency has passed, but the situations that the emergency drags on have not passed. And then I believe that the responses both from the government, especially in terms of providing psychologists, facilities, as it must be done continuously, not ending because sometimes as the emergency happened, just as when we indicated above, it happened, we helped each other, the emergency happened, was over.”]
No. of mentions (%): 51 (5.0%) and 33 (3.3%)
“En mi caso, mi suegra era paciente asmática, siempre andaba con su bultito y en diciembre comenzó a enfermarse y entonces este…cae hospitalizada, queda hospitalizada, pero al lado de ella, fallece una señora en el mismo cuarto, y tardaron en buscar a esa persona fallecida sobre ocho horas, y ella entró en un estado de ansiedad, que pidió que le dieran de alta, aunque ya había comenzado el tratamiento de antibiótico, se va a la casa y al otro día regresa y luego de ahí falleció. (esas bacterias) O sea que….Entendemos que es la raíz, ¿verdad? a consecuencia del mismo huracán, porque una persona cuando fallece no va estar tantas horas en el cuarto, pero todo es a raíz y a consecuencia de tantas muertes que hubo, que no son directamente del huracán, del día del huracán, pero eso semanas y meses, es la consecuencia de…” [“In my case, my mother-in-law was an asthmatic patient, she always walked with her lump and in December she began to get sick and then this ... she falls hospitalized, is hospitalized, but next to her, a woman dies in the same room, and they took time to look for That person died about eight hours, and she entered a state of anxiety, which asked to be discharged, although she had already started the antibiotic treatment, she goes home and the next day she returns and then she died. (those bacteria) So… We understand that it is the root, right? As a result of the hurricane itself, because a person when he dies will not spend so many hours in the room, but everything is as a result and as a result of so many deaths that there were, which are not directly from the hurricane, from the day of the hurricane, but weeks and months, is the consequence of…”]
No. of mentions (%): 23 (4.5%) and 10 (1.9%)
Help and Response
(Socio-cultural domain)
No. of mentions (%): 147 (4.2%)
“Este, el vecino no nos dio un cordón, ni luz, ni agua, ni hielo, no dio nada. Y entonces yo digo, ¿a dónde está la humanidad?, ¿dónde está el amor? Decía yo, de Dios. Que nadie comparte con uno porque no es conveniente. Y entonces, hay otra cosa más. Que la comunidad no ayudaba a nadie y yo ya decía yo del otro lado pero que de todo esto yo vi, de todo esto yo noté que el gobierno estaba flojo. Porque cuando ellos necesitan que estemos nosotros, el gobierno nos ayudó porque era conveniente, la ayuda no llegaba adecuadamente porque era conveniente, usaban obreros como era conveniente, porque le pusieron los toldos, pero nunca hubo ayuda de verdad, de un zinc o un cemento para terminar tu casa. Ese es el fallo que hubo en FEMA, como hubo en FEMA y el gobierno hubo un fallo sobre eso ¿me entiendes? La gente hablaba del gobierno mal.” [“This, the neighbor did not give us a cord, no electricity, no water, or ice, he did not give us anything. And then I say, where is humanity? Where is love? I said, of God. That nobody shares with you because it is not convenient. And then there is one more thing. That the community did not help anyone and I already said I was on the other side but that I saw all this, all this I noticed that the government was lazy. Because when they need us to be there, the government helped us because it was convenient, the aid did not arrive properly because it was convenient, they used workers as it was convenient, because they put up the awnings, but there was never real help, of a zinc or a cement to finish your house. That is the ruling that there was in FEMA, as there was in FEMA and the government there was a ruling on that, do you understand me? People spoke of bad government”]
No. of mentions (%): 7 (4.9%)
“Aunque tengamos frustraciones y otra cantidad de cosas por otras cosas que pasan en el país, ¿no? Hay que tomar en cuenta que Puerto Rico económicamente pues no está bien, que quizás no recibimos todas las ayudas que hubiéramos esperado sobre todo cuando comparamos ayudas que FEMA le dio, el gobierno federal le dio a otros estados, yo creo que a nosotros nos dio bien poco cuando yo creo que más del 80% de la isla quedó destruida. 100% sin luz de la isla.” [“Although we have frustrations and other things due to other things that happen in the country, right? We must take into account that Puerto Rico economically is not well, that perhaps we did not receive all the aid that we would have expected, especially when we compare aid that FEMA gave it, the federal government gave other states, I think it gave us very little when I believe that more than 80% of the island was destroyed. 100% without island light.”]
No. of mentions (%): 7 (2.5%)
“Pues yo encuentro que aquí no se respondió como se debió responder. Aquí se pudo haber hecho muchas cosas que no se hicieron desde, desde el “mayor” como digo yo, se bloqueó de tal manera que, que no se movió, o sea no, no daba instrucciones, no daba órdenes, el que las daba era el de manejo de emergencias… Este, yo tuve un poste tirado frente a mi casa como una semana, y mi casa es principal. O sea, yo vivo en una calle principal frente al muelle, una semana expuesta allí, sino te cuento más, este, te estaría mintiendo, pero más de una semana, pero era tan y tan pesado que los postes, se cayó encima del establecimiento de al frente, tú sabes.” [“Well, I find that here it was not answered as it should have been answered. Here many things could have been done that have not been done since, from the “older” as I say, it was blocked in such a way that, that it did not move, that is, no, it did not give instructions, did not give orders, the one who gave them It was the emergency management ... This, I had a pole thrown in front of my house for about a week, and my house is main. I mean, I live on a main street in front of the pier, a week exposed there, if not I’ll tell you more, this one, I would be lying to you, but more than a week, but it was so and so heavy that the poles fell on top of the establishment from the front, you know”]
No. of mentions (%): 13 (4.9%)
“En el caso del barrio, la calle principal, donde todo, es una calle que da la vuelta completa. La calle principal estaba intransitable y había una persona muerta en el barrio, que necesitaban sacarla. Y los que estaban en el barrio, se unieron para abrir brechas y que pudiera pasar la guagua de la funeraria, para que vinieran a buscar el cuerpo. Ellos estuvieron dándole como dos o tres días, o algo así, pegando con todo lo que encontraban. Pero todos los del barrio, allá abajo del bregando con eso, porque la… no había forma. El municipio no ayudó para abrir caminos, ni nada. Que estaban nosotros aquí, esto era como una islita, separado de todo. Este….Nosotros tenemos que resolvernos. Si queríamos salir, teníamos que nosotros luchar para salir nosotros.” [“In the case of the neighborhood, the main street, where everything, is a street that goes around completely. The main street was impassable and there was a dead person in the neighborhood, who needed to be removed. And those who were in the neighborhood, united to open breaches so that the bus from the funeral home could pass, so that they could come to look for the body. They were giving it like two or three days, or something like that, hitting with everything they found. But everyone in the neighborhood, down there from the struggling with that, because the… there was no way. The municipality did not help to open roads, or anything. That we were here, this was like an island, separated from everything. This .... We have to solve ourselves. If we wanted to get out, we had to fight to get out ourselves.”]
No. of mentions (%): 47 (4.6%)
“El paso de la tormenta, cuando pasó la tormenta, nosotros nos sentimos solos, nadie se acercada donde nosotros, [hablante masculino 1: nadie.] nadie nos llevó una botella de agua, nadie nos llevó un plato de comida, teníamos un vecino que se pasaba gritando porque nadie se acercaba a él también. Era un ancianito de noventa y pico de años, como noventa y cuatro años.” [“The passing of the storm, when the storm passed, we felt alone, nobody approached where we, Nobody brought us a bottle of water, nobody brought us a plate of food, [male speaker 1: absolutely nothing] we had a neighbor who kept screaming because no one approached him too. He was an old man of ninety-odd years, like ninety-four years old.”]
No. of mentions (%): 10 (1.9%)
Relocating to the USA
(Socio-cultural domain)
No. of mentions (%): 79 (2.3%)
“No puede trabajar. Pero la esposa, la esposa si trabaja, trabajaba aquí, pues al irse de aquí pues tuvo que dejar el trabajo, ahora están allá, que no están bien porque están metidos en la casa de cuñado, y hay un dicho que dice “el muerto a los tres días apesta” [“It cannot work. But the wife, the wife does work, she worked here, because when she left here she had to leave work, now they are there, they are not well because they are in the brother-in-law’s house, and there is a saying that says “the dead man after three days it sucks “]
No. of mentions (%): 20 (1.4%)
“El número oficial es como 100 mil personas [se fueron de la isla] pero quizá sea muy bajo, por ejemplo ahorita les conté que la urbanización donde reside mi papá hay 33 casas. Seis familias se fueron. De 33.” [“The official number is like 100,000 people [left the island] but it may be very low, for example I told you just now that the urbanization where my father lives there are 33 houses. Six families left. From 33″]
No. of mentions (%): 3 (1.1%)
“Por no me fui, pues porque, porque tenía un trabajo y tenía mi esposo un trabajo, pero de que me quería ir, todos los días lo decía, “yo me voy, yo no quiero estar pasando por esto”. Porque yo digo a veces, verdad, la infraestructura aquí está abismada. Tú vas a otros países y tienen estos mismos aprietos, pero la mejoría es más rápido, más rápido. Yo a veces digo, acá es como que, no sé si es que vivimos en un área muy estratégica para los huracanes, y nos parte por el medio, pero es bien difícil, ¿cómo subir? Que si es difícil cuando no hay huracán imagínate cuando hay huracán.” [“I didn’t leave, well because, because I had a job and my husband had a job, but I wanted to leave, every day I said, “I’m going, I don’t want to be going through this.” Because I sometimes say, right, the infrastructure here is overwhelmed. You go to other countries and have these same difficulties, but the improvement is faster, faster. Sometimes I say, here it is like that, I don’t know if we live in a very strategic area for hurricanes, and it breaks us down the middle, but it is very difficult, how to go up? If it is difficult when there is no hurricane, imagine when there is a hurricane.”]
No. of mentions (%): 3 (1.1%)
“Era con tratamiento, otros se fueron porque no tenían trabajo, pero la mayoría se fueron por tratamiento. Porque aquí los tratamientos para tu condición no estaban disponibles en ese momento. Y después pues, después de un par de meses, pues volvieron, pero se tuvieron que ir.” [“It was with treatment, others left because they did not have a job, but the majority left for treatment. Because here the treatments for your condition were not available at that time. And then well, after a couple of months, well they came back, but they had to go.”]
No. of mentions (%): 5 (0.5%)
“En el caso mío, pues lo que me motivó a venir acá fue más bien la incertidumbre, cada vez yo no me sentía bien de salud, este, emocionalmente como él dijo, y también porque pues mi trabajo se afectó, y depende mucho de las comunicaciones, cuando me vine acá, pues obviamente mi mama me acompaña y ahí es que ella se queda que no pudo regresar a Puerto Rico y ahí fue que comenzamos a hacer la vida acá. He regresado, ido a Puerto Rico en varias ocasiones ya, este, porque tengo personas allá que obviamente trabajan conmigo y necesitan del apoyo mío, este, he visto como se ha ido recuperando poco a poco, pero básicamente pues ha sido bien difícil esa ayuda.” [In my case, because what motivated me to come here was rather the uncertainty, every time I did not feel good health, this, emotionally as he said, and also because my work was affected, and it depends a lot on the communications, when I came here, because obviously my mother accompanies me and that’s where she stays that she couldn’t return to Puerto Rico and that’s when we started living here. I have returned, gone to Puerto Rico on several occasions already, this one, because I have people there who obviously work with me and need my support, this one, I have seen how he has been recovering little by little, but basically, that help has been very difficult.”]
No. of mentions (%): 48 (9.3%)